The inspiration for this puzzle veritably fell out of the sky and bopped us on the heads. I don't want to say more and spoil it!
What I will say is that this puzzle was a much-sought-after collaboration with Rebecca Goldstein! With respect to the many hyper-talented theme specialists out there, I think Rebecca may be my favorite constructor of themed puzzles out there right now. Her recent Inkubator puzzle, "It's a Rap," and her guest puzzle on Just Gridding, "I Could Go Either Way," are two fab ones that come to mind, and she also has the USA Today crossword today. Rebecca is the genius who wrestled this puzzle's constraints into a fun, clean grid (I can say that because it wasn't my work). She was SO much fun to work with.
More from Rebecca:
Super grateful to Kate for 1) inviting me to collaborate, 2) the existence of her blog so that puzzles like this can exist, and 3) accidentally (?) coming up with the idea for this puzzle. I had an absolute blast working on this grid with her and hope you enjoy solving!
Puzzle (and puz) after the jump, as well a little spoilery postscript you can check out after solving, if you're interested in the origin story :) Thank you to the inimitable Rachel Fabi for test-solving!
Still here? Well, then, as promised: bonus content